Saturday, November 23, 2013

He Is Good

The moment when you can't put into words how you are feeling, the moment when you long to be expressive because you are expressive.  You struggle with the words to say, feeling chained by this invisible vise-grip on your heart.  Begging deep inside your very soul for someone, anyone to hear your heart and understand.

Normally the story goes, "out of the darkness stepped...."  But, this story goes, "into the darkness He went".  Into the darkness, the brightest light there ever was...a light trampled down yet so strong the darkness lost the war before it was ever darkness.  And that powerful light came as something we would consider so very weak and helpless.  A baby, pure, innocent, void of any sin.  This baby grew into a man.  The Son of Man.  Ahhh, my heart can't even begin to grasped that He walked here.  He walked and He beheld all there was to see.  Went through every trial imaginable, felt every single moment of pain that could ever be had.  I have no doubt His soul, His heart was pierced many times from the rejections of people, His heart only to love.

It's crazy, our idea of love.  I feel, no, I don't just feel, I KNOW, that we have twisted what love is.  Love isn't always that "warm, mushy" feeling.  It isn't always comfortable.  Sometimes love comes in the form of consequences, sometimes it's downright painful.

I laugh to myself, because lately I've felt so entitled to "feel" God's love.  To experience that warm, comfortable reassuring feeling that I have decided lets me know God loves me.  Oh, but how far it is from just a feeling.  Do I get it?  No, not at all.  And sometimes, often times, my entitlement brings me to this place where I doubt.  I doubt that God is good.  I doubt His love.  I lose any gratitude that was once held in my heart.

Crazy though, how in my ungrateful, doubting mode, God still sees fit to give me gifts.  The most special came in the form of a friend tonight, who had the words to say what I couldn't.  "You want to trust so badly, but there is something just holding you back, and you can't get away from it.  It's like a prison."  Oh, the prison I too often find myself in.  There can be so many things that hold us back, but I think one of the largest is the heart void of or lacking in gratitude.

Pure thankfulness in each moment, knowing that no matter what happens we're saved by the grace of One much bigger than anything we could ever face.

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in ALL circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Ahh, rejoice, pray, give thanks in all circumstances.  But wait, read the next part again.  "For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for YOU."  For me.  It's God's will?  How can it be His will for me to go through hard things?  Shouldn't it be a breeze once I've made Him a part of my life?  No.  It isn't easy.  I know it sounds cliche but He never said it would be, in fact, He said it would be a rough journey.  But the mind-boggling awesomeness of the hard stuff is that it brings a settled-ness (new word :)) to our hearts.  A peace in the middle of the harshest of storms that no one can understand unless you know Yahweh, Jehovah Shalom, Abba..........................................................
Jesus.

  Part of a song to leave you with by Sidewalk Prophets:

He's not safe at all
He might let you fall
He's not easy
But He's good
I know He's good
He will take your time
He might feel unkind
He will break you
But He's good, He's good, He's good
I know He's good

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Broken Thanks

I looked into the eyes of innocence tonight.  I looked and as I explained and said "goodbye for now," I watched her heart build walls again.  I watched pain then uncertainty flash through those eyes.  My heart shattered, because I knew, her pain, was caused my ungrateful heart.  As I drove home, I pondered the "what ifs".  What if I...what if I...what if I?

Truth gently whispered, "Don't 'what if'.  You stepped back, you recognized, you confessed, broken, you spoke, you got back up again.  You went to the cross, you left it there.  Breathe.  Just breathe in grace.  Breathe in that you are treasured in spite of the things you see as failure.  Lift your hands, say "thank you".  Thank you for the brokenness that you pleaded for, thank you for grace, thank you for each moment that brought you to this grace-filled place.  Thank you for His rest and peace that you feel at this moment."

So, I sat back and wondered.  What if?  What if I stopped saying the what ifs for my regrets?  What if each time a piece shattered in my life or each time I made a mistake, or if I was asked to let go of dreams...what if I simply whispered my broken, "hallelujah and thank you, Daddy."

The crazy thing is, He never asked me to be perfect, but to strive for perfection in Him.  Yet, I betray my heart by believing the lies that I can never be enough.  He only asked me to come to Him, just the way I am.  Not perfect, not always getting it, but just broken, willing before Him.  And, the amazing thing?  I have not found one other place that gives true rest but Him.  True rest, rest that isn't always that rainbow land filled with ease and comfort that some people think should be Christianity, but a rest that gives such a settled, at peace feeling even in the middle of bombs dropping all around me.  Ahhh, grace...so...what if?

What if we gave up our rights, our entitlements, what we think we deserve?  But simply said, "thank you."

Grateful thanks for the crazy long traffic that made you late.  Tearful thanks for things lost because it cleared a path to His perspective.  Longing thanks for His asking you to give up your dreams, so He could work even more.  Smile-filled thanks at new life breathing young.  Unending thanks for those sunrises and sunsets, reminding of His beauty and glory.  Shivering thanks for those cold piles of snow, each flake uniquely different.
We miss so much because we don't notice.  Life got too busy.  So, what if we thanked Him for the painful, earth-shattering things as much as we did the beautiful, puzzle pieces put in place?